How they criticise the matrimonial alliance between aged Dives with his crutch and money-bags, and the fascinating and artless Miss Sans Avoir, who dedicates her life to making happy the old gentleman!
How gaily do they pull in pieces the beautiful natural curls of Mr. Adonis, who purchased them at the perruquier’s; and how they scalp Miss Summer Morning, with her smiles and bright-eyed kindness, in the presence of gentlemen—while behind the scenes she is a mixture of the tigress and the asp! All these social anomalies do young ladies at school talk about—as do those who have left school also.
But Redbud and Fanny did not—they were far too good-natured to take pleasure in such comments, and instead, spent the hours in laughing, playing and reading in the pleasant arbor. Thus the morning drew on, and the lovely autumn day sailed past with all its life and splendor toward the west. Fanny was gazing toward the house, as they thus sat in the arbor, and Redbud was smiling, when a gentleman, clothed in a forest costume, and carrying a rifle, made his appearance at the door of the Bower of Nature.
“Oh, Reddy!” cried Fanny, “there’s your friend, Verty; and look what a fright he is!”
HOW MISS SALLIANNA ALLUDED TO VIPERS, AND FELL INTO HYSTERICS.
Verty paused upon the threshold of the mansion to push back his long, curling hair; and with a glance behind him, toward Cloud, meant as a caution to that intelligent animal and to Longears, deposited his rifle against the door.
The young man, as we have said, had once more donned his rude forest costume; and even at the risk of appearing to undervalue the graces and attractions of civilization with the costume, which is a necessary part thereof, we must say that the change was an improvement. Verty’s figure, in the dress which he generally wore, was full of picturesqueness and wild interest. He looked like a youthful Leather-stocking; and seemed to be a part of the forest in which he lived, and from which he came.
He had been cramped in the rich clothes; and the consciousness of this feeling, so to speak, had made his manner stiff and unnatural; now, however, he was forest Verty again. His long hair had already become tangled, thanks to the autumn winds, and the gallop to which he had pushed Cloud;—his person assumed its habitual attitude of wild grace; his eye no longer restless and troubled, had recovered its expression of dreamy mobility, and his lips were wreathed with the odd Indian smile, which just allowed the ends of the white teeth to thread them;—Verty was himself again.
He raised his head, and would have caught sight of the young girls in the garden, but for a circumstance which occurred just at that moment.
This circumstance was the appearance of Miss Sallianna—Miss Sallianna arrayed in all her beauties and attractions, including a huge breastpin, a dress of enormous pattern, and a scarf around her delicate waist, azure-hued and diaphanous like the sky, veiled with an imperceptible cloud.